Academic study finds rape pornography law had little impact on prosecutions

A rape pornography law brought in four years ago has had little impact with few prosecutions, a legal academic who campaigned for its introduction has said.

More than eight out of 10 offenders charged with breaking the extreme pornography law were caught with bestiality porn, while only 1% of those charged were charged with having rape pornography.

Using Freedom of Information data, the study found only nine rape pornography offences were recorded between 2015 and 2017.

Experts from Durham University’s law school, who have studied the use of the legislation, believed the authorities were only charging people found with real rape images, rather than a depiction of rape which they said is also outlawed.

Professor Clare McGlynn and Dr Hannah Bows, of Durham Law School, found that porn involving animals was the focus of the authorities rather than rape porn, and they have called for a review.

Prof McGlynn (pictured) said: “I worked with Rape Crisis and the End Violence Against Women coalition to get the rape porn offence introduced in 2015 and I am therefore extremely disappointed that this new data suggest porn involving animals is the focus of police action rather than rape porn.

“I am concerned that police and regulatory authorities are interpreting the rape porn law in a restrictive way, only focusing on real images, rather than depictions of rape as the legislation states.

“This new data raises serious questions about the purpose of the extreme porn laws.”

Their research found there were almost 600 cases over the two years, that most offenders were men aged 18 to 50, but there were 21 under 16s and 11 over 70.

Dr Hannah Bows said: “At a time when there are widespread concerns about the impact of pornography on sexual offences, this data suggests that we need a wholesale review of this area of law and policy, focusing on harm and impacts, not disgust and obscenity.

“The data shows that men of all ages are viewing extreme pornography, not only the young experimenting.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Durham University.

Share On: